Exhibitions are back and bigger than ever. Here are our picks for the must-see exhibitions this month
The National Gallery
Bellotto: The Kongistein Views Reunited
22 July – 31 October
Having recently acquired an additional view of Bellotto’s iconic paintings, the National Gallery displays all five views of the Kongistein for the very first time. The image depicts a Saxon fortress just outside Dresden in five different viewpoints and was painted while Bellotto was commissioned as a court painter for August III. Observed by art critics as one of the most formative painters of the Eighteenth century Europeans, the five paintings provide a wholly unique observation of one of Europe’s long-contested battlegrounds.
7 July – 24 October
One of the most exciting modern artists in the UK, Paula Rego’s vast collection of paintings will go on display at the Tate Britain in July. With work that transformed the presentation of women in art, the exhibition will feature paintings, pastels, pencil drawings and collage from her early work to her most famous pieces.
15 July – 17 October
Perhaps one of the most iconic names in the modern art and design movement comes to the Tate Modern this July, with a collection of her multidisciplinary works created through the 1920s and 30s. The Tate will present the very first retrospective of her work to appear in the UK, with items on loan from Europe and the US, including original sculptures, magazines, paintings and crafts.
Royal Style in the Making
3 June – 2 January
Forty years of royal fashion will be exhibited to the public for the first time, set in the newly renovated Orangery in Kensington Palace. The highlight, and most talked-about element, is the debut showing of the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales, which is on loan from HRH The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, complete with its twenty-five-foot long train. Also featured are dresses worn by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, as well sketches, drawings and clothing from across the Royal Family.
Leeds City Museum
Fast x Slow Fashion: Shopping for Clothes in Leeds, 1720-2020
23 June – 31 December
In just a few centuries, the way we shop and consume fashion has dramatically changed – from “slow” to “fast”. This exhibition covers 300 years of fashion, examining how clothing and the process of making clothes have changed as mass production improved and technology developed. From handmade to second-hand and recycled clothing, Leeds’ textile and fabric history is woven into this innovative new exhibition about the ever-changing face of contemporary fashion.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
19 April – 1 April 2022
Four of Damien Hirst’s original sculptures are now displayed in the eighteenth century Deer Park at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The works include The Virgin Mother (2005-06), Charity (02-03), Myth (2010) and The Hat Makes the Man (04-07), spread across the gorgeous outdoor space. Hirst is a Leeds native and is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential artists of his time, having won the Turner Prize in 2009.
The Scottish Gallery Edinburgh
An Artist’s Life, Act 1
1 – 24 July
The early work of Scottish artist Alexander Goudie goes on display at the Scottish Gallery this July, showcasing some of his earliest drawings and paintings. In conjunction, the exhibition explores the early loves and passions of Goudie, particularly that of Brittany in France and Glasgow, where he hones his craft at the Glasgow School of Art during the 1940s and 50s. A further Part 2 will be exhibited in 2024.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
Alison Watt: A Portrait Without Likeness
17 July – 9 January
Considered one of the most prolific Scottish painters currently working, the National Portrait Gallery brings together her collection of work in response to the work of Allan Ramsey (1713-84), being shown for the very first time. In addition to Watt’s original paintings, the exhibition will feature sketchbooks and drawings of Ramsey’s work, on loan from the archive of the National Galleries of Scotland.
What If…? Scotland
1 July – 21 November
Produced by 7N Architects, this dynamic exhibition asks the question – what could Dundee look like in the future? Engaging people from all across Scotland, it hopes to reinvigorate the civic duties of designers into improving the places that they call home. The exhibition was created during the first nationwide lockdown in 2020, where architects and designers were placed into contact with ordinary people from around Scotland to help transform how they thought about urban and country design. The exhibition was originally staged at the seventeenth International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.
Ambera Wellmann: UnTurning
9 June – 8 August
Marking the first exhibition by Ambera Wellmann in the UK & Ireland, the MAC Belfast presents a series of Wellmann’s paintings in “UnTurning”. Integrating themes of heteronormativity and capitalism on the effect of the mind and body, Wellmann’s paintings play with physicality and queerness to create paintings that feel both contemporary and inspired by the great artists of the Nineteenth century.
St Fagans National Museum of History
The Future Has a Past
9 June – 21 January
This multidisciplinary exhibition asks just one question of its visitors – what will Wales look like in the future? Artist Henry Alles, in collaboration with Amgueddfa Cymru, presents images of the past that will reflect the Wales of the future, including historical objects on loan from the national collection. The exhibition stands as part of a larger scheme to achieve greater social justice across Wales with youth-led projects in national museums.
Frank Bowling: Land of Many Waters
3 July – 26 September
Heralded as one of the most prolific abstract artists of the Twentieth century, Sir Frank Bowling continues to play with the boundaries of art well into his 80s. Alongside Bowling’s key works over the last few decades, new pieces and archived work will also feature in this extensive exhibition, all of which were made through the course of 2020, and will also feature photographs and materials from Bowling’s personal archive in London. Bowling was knighted in the Queen’s 2020 Birthday Honours for his services to art.
Lucian Freud: Real Lives
24 July – 16 January 2022
The portraits of the reclusive Lucian Freud will be displayed at the Tate Liverpool this July. His paintings, which were usually of those he loved and were closest to him, are some of the most lauded portraitures of modern art, and will also feature photographs and etchings from his original works. Specialising in figurative art, Freud’s work is packed with realism and noted for capturing a psychological discomfort in each of his subjects.